Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I *heart* Ascii Keys

Actually, this post has nothing to do with ascii keys, or anything computer related, really. I was simply going to recant my wonderful weekend, and if you're scoring at home, you know that this weekend was the big MS Tour de Farms! For the record, by the way, I did attempt an audioblog Saturday night, but I guess it has floated off into the stratosphere of cyberspace, as I don't see it here today. Anyways, without further ado, here's how it went:

Friday, I had the day off, I was finishing up getting ready, taking care of last minute details, picking my rental car, etc, etc. I was also waiting for Red to return my belongings, up to and including my bike rack, which she failed to do. My anger towards her for that just doesn't harmonize with the overall happiness with my story, so let's just let that dog lie.

Jen, Bosco and I headed out toward Aurora just before 3, my rental car loaded to the gills with biking and camping gear, not to mention two bikes on my newly purchased bike rack. On our way to the Ike, we saw three "urban car washes," fire hydrants opened by kids, and spraying water all over hell. It was really rather cool. We got to our hotel at about 5, thanks to traffic, hung out, had dinner with most of the team, and finally turned it in, although not until two of my teammates and I checked out our hotel's "live" music act, consisting of a multi-instrumentalist playing basically to karaoke CD's.

Saturday morning, we were up bright and early, and I mean BRIGHT and EARLY- on the road by 5:35, heading to the start line at Kaneland High School(check out the route map here). We had our team picture taken(it will be posted as soon as I can get a copy), and got ready to go. Fortunately, it was just after 6:30 when we finally got started, so it wasn't too warm. YET.

The first rest stop is only about 9 miles from the start, so we pretty much kept together, all 13 riders. After that, we did separate into different skill levels, but I waited for them at most of the rest stops so we could be together. Once I got to the Rollo rest stop, that's when things went a little wrong. My little brother's hip was bothering him, so he was SAG'ed in, and I thought Jen was going to collapse. I waited for them to start feeling better, then I got back on my bike for the 100-mile route. Wouldn't you know it, but not 10 yards out, I notice my tire seems flat. I turned around, walked the bike back to the repair area to put more air in the tire. It wouldn't hold. Figures. A flat. Crap.

Unfortunately, there was only one repair guy there, and he was busy with a couple people before me. Once my turn came around, he didn't believe me. I told him that it wasn't holding air, and he wasn't too impressed. We went through the routine, and finally he found the leak, and then found the cause: a shard of glass. In the meantime, one of my riders, who had been with me on the 15 mile stretch from Sandwich to Rollo, who also had tire problems, had his tire go flat as he was standing in line behind me. It was, in retrospect, really funny, as his tire made a big to-do about it, with a loud bang and very audible hiss as it gave a nice death-rattle.

Off I went, though, all alone, for the 100-mile loop. It started directly into the wind, and the temperature at that point had soared. I started to question my decision-making process, but then remembered how mad I was last year when I didn't get to do the century. I pushed on, and made it to the first rest stop, where I picked up my coveted patch. Now, I had to earn it.

Fortunately for me, the next 13 miles were pretty easy, with the wind mostly at my back. I did start to bonk a little bit, though, and I stopped to help another rider with a flat. I pushed on, and made it back to Rollo in just over 90 minutes, a little slower than my usual pace, but still pretty good. I rested for a little bit, feeling really proud of myself for getting my patch. The best part of the whole ride, by the way, was the simple fact that at the Rollo stop they had SnoCones. I don't even want to think about where I would have been without them.

I pushed on to the next stop, and started to feel a little weak, but it was getting really, really hot in the afternoon sun, so I didn't want to wait too long. I skipped eating anything. That, my friends and readers, was a mistake. After I left there, at about mile 88, I really started to bonk. Badly. One of the motorcycle ride marshals actually rode up next to me to check on me- something I thanked him for, but assured him, with a lot of conviction(and perhaps a couple swear words), that I was going to finish, no matter what. I stopped with a couple of girls that were also bonking. I had a Powerbar, and got back going.

I finally made it to the Elva rest stop, the last one before the finish line. I was exhausted, bonked, and overheated. So, I rested up, ate a lot, drank a shitload of Powerade, and I dug deep for the determination to finish. And finish I did. My first century, and I chose one of the hottest days to do it. But I did it- something I'm incredibly proud of.

Sunday, we reversed course, and set out earlier to avoid the heat, and met with mixed results. Most of us were too tired to do the 75, but I pushed through, with another of my riders, and did the 75 on day two, without a flat, and without bonking. When I rode in at Kaneland on day two, as if by fate, what's playing, but Johnny Cash. What a thing to happen.

Music helped me summon the mental toughness to fight through the bonks and the exhaustion. I kept putting songs in my head to keep me going- Push It by Salt n Peppa, Held by Smog, Faith by George Michael, and yes, CeeRock, I was thinking of you when I put Take Me Home Country Roads in my head. So did thinking about my friends Jess and Laurel, who both have MS. So did thinking about my Physical Therapist, who helped me get to the point I could ride again. I can't wait to walk in there, once I have the picture, and show her my century patch. I'm also so very proud of my team, nine of which were new riders this year. I certainly hope they caught the bug, and will be there with me next year.

Anyways, before I get too mushy, I'm going to write my pub quiz, after all, just because the ride's over, doesn't mean the fundraising is!


Blogger cynthia said...

glad i could help!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Postmodern Sass said...

All together now:

How hot was it?


2:42 PM  

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